No Steph, No Klay, no Dray? NO PROBLEM as Dubs beat Detroit
Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins put in work on the road.
If you haven’t seen the legend Eric Apricot’s E1P on Jordan Poole’s brilliant game last night, stop reading this article right now and CLICK HERE!
If you have seen it, then perhaps you are like me and have now graduated up the scale of Poole Support to “expecting scoring binges nightly” from the 3rd year player out of Michigan. His on-court synergy with Juan Toscano-Anderson was giving me Kirkland Brand Steph Curry & Draymond Green vibes last night in the 105-103 win over the Detroit Pistons.
Last night without Curry, Green, Klay Thompson, and James Wiseman (four out of five starters), the Dubs still took care of business. It was pretty cool seeing the GSW “other guys” get busy against Detroit.
The Warriors’ motion offense gets all five of their guys activated on the floor to present their opponents with perpetual lose-lose situations. The defense has to make a choice to take away SOMETHING, and when they do, Golden State counters with precision.
Many a night that means Curry, the NBA’s leading scorer, is going to feast until frustrated defenses finally submit and trap him 50 feet from the basket. But when Curry isn’t on the floor, the team is still finding ways to put opponents in pick-your-poison conundrums.
Andrew Wiggins is benefiting from the system, averaging 18.3 PPG on 48% shooting from the field in a role that I’d bet will remain largely unchanged when Thompson is on the floor.
He leads the team in makes and attempts from the mid-range:
Wiggins 16-of-35 45.7%
Curry 13-of-24 54.2%
Poole 11-of-21 52.4%
Last night he repeatedly found soft spots in Detroit’s defense in the mid-range, whether they overplayed him at the three-point line or sagged off him to defend his drives.
Scoring in this area was one of the underrated parts of the Warriors’ dominance with Kevin Durant; Golden State had teams so terrified to give up threes and dunks that there would be swaths of open territory in between the arc and the rim. You know who else is pretty good at the mid-range? Klay freakin’ Thompson.
Top-3 standings check
Let’s take a look at the top three teams from each conference.
Brooklyn - Beat the hell out of them in Brooklyn and turned their own fans against them.
Heat - Won’t face off until January 3rd in San Francisco.
Bulls - Broke Chicago’s will by the end of the third quarter just a week ago.
And now let’s go to the West.
Golden State - Best record in the NBA despite playing with one arm tied behind their back.
Phoenix - Defending Western Conference champions led by Curry rival Chris Paul. Will face them November 30th in Phoenix.
Utah - Yawn. To quote Dub Nation HQ visionary Nate P. I haven’t been worried about the Utah Jazz since the We Believe team. Will face Utah New Years Day.
Obviously the standings are fluid this early in the season and aren’t necessarily a harbinger of what’s to come by the time the playoffs roll around, but they do let us know who is coming out of the gates hot. I am curious about the Miami Heat; they play the Warriors HARD every year and could easily drag the Dubs into a grueling physical contest that would challenge their well-oiled machine.
The only other team I think could beat the Warriors out of this group is…the Warriors! They can surely beat themselves if they play too undisciplined, jack up wild shots, and cough up too many turnovers. In this upcoming stretch Golden State is about to find out more about their IQ, toughness, and togetherness.